Daring Democracy? - The Forum on the Future of Democracy 2008

23. October 2008 – 09:39 by Bengt Feil

This years conference season is filled with very interesting events and the Forum in the Future of Democracy held by the Council of Europe in Madrid on October 15th to 17th was surely on of them. This regular event is aimed at covering a wide range of different topics connected to the future of democracy and this year’s tagline was: eDemocracy – Who dares? With this provocative theme at hand and with the long list of very interesting invited speakers and participants this year’s forum was set up to be a success. I would like to share a few of my personal impressions and highlights of the event besides the wonderful weather in Madrid.

The keynote of one of the founders of Skype who is now working both in the academic and the social sector on the first day of the conference made is clear that the topic of eDemocracy has matured and is seen as being very important beyond the core group of enthusiasts. The large number of attendees representing public administrations and EU and national organizations also supports this point and shows that many of the decision-makers in the different branches of government have picked up the topic and are moving forward.

The second day of the forum focused on covering certain subsets of the eDemocracy topic in more depth in six different workgroups. I attended the discussion on eParticipation on the local and regional level which brought up a series of insightful good practice cases and learnings from different regions in Europe as for example the results of the Lexipation project on citizen participation in the legislative process. In this session there where also some interesting points concerning the different forms of implementation of e-participatory budgeting efforts raised. Related to this question I can emphasize the objection I made when writing about the national participatory budgeting conference in Manchester on September 15th that there are many different ways of setting up PB efforts which have to be adjusted to the local legal, political and social circumstances.

As with almost every conference the discussions and exchanges on questions with the attendees during the coffee breaks, lunches and receptions where as important as the conference program itself. The Council of Europe set up these parts of the conference very well which lead to very fruitful networking and several organizations interested to join PEP-NET.

In summary the Forum on the future of Democracy did not only show the state of the art of eDemocracy efforts but also contributed to the its further development by disseminating learnings and connecting the stakeholders active in the field.

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  1. 2 Responses to “Daring Democracy? - The Forum on the Future of Democracy 2008”

  2. By Fraser on Oct 23, 2008

    Nice event, have blogged at:-


  3. By Sarah Schacht on Oct 23, 2008

    Bummed that I missed it. Thanks for the blog post on it. Maybe I’ll go next year. :)

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